The Environmental Portrait Photo by Carlos Rios, Houston Chronicle

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  • Slide 1
  • The Environmental Portrait Photo by Carlos Rios, Houston Chronicle
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  • Richard Avedon was a legendary fashion photographer and portrait artist. His character studies of celebrities benefited greatly from his trademark style of placing them in front of a plain white background. By forcing the viewer to consider only the face, and perhaps the body language of his subjects, Avedon would insinuate an elevated status upon his subjects... Truman Capote
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  • With In The American West, Avedon adapted the same style of portraiture to a large collection of everyday folks. While he may have considered this a brand of photojournalism, some have argued against its effectiveness, questioning the works honesty. Without the context of their surroundings, the subjects of American West appear as bugs under a microscope. The blank, seamless background thrusts the figures forward as islands of textures of flesh and cloth. There is nothing else to explain their often tawdry appearances.
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  • In Martin Rogovins book The Forgotten Ones, he included a series of environmental portraits of men at work and at home...
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  • Photo by Martin Rogovin, 1973.
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  • Henri Matisse in Venice, 1944. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
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  • From Bruce Davidsons East 100th St. project.
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  • Diane Arbus made a career of the environmental portrait, with her intimate portrayals of those she referred to as the aristocrats of society. Others characterized her subjects (which included dwarfs, transsexuals, nudists, strippers, and mentally- challenged eccentrics) as freaks.
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  • Mae West with her pet monkey, by Diane Arbus
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  • Flute-playing Indio with Llama, 1933. Photo by Martin Chambi
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  • ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITS by David Blumenkrantz Watts, South-Central Los Angeles
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  • Parent volunteer Gloria Clairborne and her sons Dashawan, 14, and Darrin, 11, at the Foshay Learning Center, South-Central Los Angeles.
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  • Malcolm Jordan, candidate for Los Angeles District Attorney, in front of the Criminal Court building.
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  • Violinist, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
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  • Pregnant actress, in the dressing room of a small theater, Burbank.
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  • Owner of a trendy Hollywood restaurant.
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  • Editor of the Korea Times, in the Los Angeles newsroom.
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  • In 1975, Jeff Burroughs was the American Leagues Most Valuable Player. Twenty years later, he was the manager of a minor league team in Long Beach.
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  • Teenage runaways, Santa Monica.
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  • Skid Row, downtown Los Angeles.